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Queer Alliance cancels Sex Power God party

Student behavior, party’s perception no longer align with purpose, QA board writes in a post

The Queer Alliance decided to cancel the annual Sex Power God party it usually holds during the fall semester, the group announced Monday.

“A future board may choose to reinstate the party based on their own judgment,” Queer Alliance President Lorin Smith ’15 and the rest of the group’s coordinating committee wrote in a post on the Bluestockings Magazine website announcing the change.

The QA board decided to cancel the party because recent iterations have not been in line with the event’s original intent, the post said. SPG “was intended to be a celebration of sex positivity for queer people, a celebration of body positivity, a safe space free of assault and unwanted contact and a space open to all with a queer focus” and meant “to ethically raise funds for the continuation and promotion of a healthy community for queer students at Brown.”

But Smith and the coordinating committee wrote that “non-consensual sexual engagement, unwanted touching, harassment and verbal slurs” were common at SPG, based on “anecdotal evidence from students.”

Though attendees were asked to sign a contract last year “promising to seek active consent,” the QA leaders wrote that “students disregarded this policy during the 2013 SPG.” The post called SPG a “violent space.”

“We cannot in good conscience continue perpetuating such a space. … It would mean that Brown students decided that a party was more important than the safety and bodily autonomy of their peers,” the leaders wrote.

Smith did not respond to multiple requests for comment Monday.

The financial chairs “have been brainstorming alternative fundraisers that do not require perpetuating negative, sexual spaces,” wrote Noah Fields ’17, a member of the QA coordinating committee, in a Facebook message to The Herald, adding that SPG, the group’s biggest fundraiser, has “brought in less money since moving to Alumnae Hall.” The party moved from Sayles Hall to Alumnae Hall after 2005, and due to fire regulations it was held in Andrews Dining Hall in 2010.

“We are not too concerned with our ability to fundraise through more kosher methods for our big upcoming events, including the New England Queer People of Color Conference, which we are hosting in the spring,” Fields wrote.

On campus, some students echoed the post’s concerns about last year’s party.

“Even though they signed the waiver, they didn’t really pay attention to the intentionality and the reason as to why the space was created,” said Mae Verano ’17.

This disregard was “enough reason to cancel SPG, despite the financial loss of forgoing the party,” the post said.

“I kind of think that the reason is valid,” said Predrag Pandiloski ’17, “although I think they should try to enforce (the rules from the contract) more efficiently at the door.”

“Even if someone is kind of visibly drunk, just don’t let them in,” Pandiloski said, adding that he would recommend trying to  enforce the rules more strictly this year and canceling the party in the future if it didn’t work.

“I went and enjoyed it last year, but I do know several people who had really uncomfortable experiences there,” said Genesis Medina ’17. “There are lots of incidences, like anecdotes of assault and harassment and a lot of unwanted groping.”

“Even though there’s no (official) evidence of sexual assault, sexual assault is obviously a very big issue,” Verano said.

The Bluestockings post also referenced the footage of the party shown on “The O’Reilly Factor” in 2005, when the party garnered national attention and ridicule from some conservatives, and the increased safety and privacy precautions taken the following year. These precautions are thought to have contributed to a decreased number of students needing Emergency Medical Services, The Herald previously reported.

Other student groups are not allowed to stage alternatives to SPG in light of its cancelation, Smith and the coordinating committee wrote in the post.

They added that they encourage students to send suggestions to with the subject line “RE: Creating Safe Sexual Spaces.”



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